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“Once was enough” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort

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Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
3.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   7150 Bolongo, 00802, St. Thomas   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in South Coast
NEBRASKA
Top Contributor
268 reviews 268 reviews
174 hotel reviews
Reviews in 211 cities Reviews in 211 cities
412 helpful votes 412 helpful votes
“Once was enough”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

I had read the reviews and did not have high expectations. I can't say though that all of my low expectations were met. Overall, it is decent enough, just not as nice as what I am used to. As an American I found it had a better vibe than the resorts I've stayed at on the British influenced Caribbean islands. It is a family friendly resort. I'd have to say that the best point of the hotel is the service and atmosphere at Iggies.
My first impression was not impressive. Lobby is very small and clerk had no personality. We were not made to feel welcome upon arrival at all. We also did not receive a welcome rum punch even though they said they would send one. This has to be the first hotel I have stayed at that did not have a book in the room to tell you about the resort and what the hours and policies were. I wouldn't even have known what time check out was had it not been on the check-in paperwork. Once again, I was very unhappy to have to wear an armband for my entire stay for all-inclusive services. This really made no sense, as you were required to sign for everything you ate or drank and give your room number. I have never been to an all-inclusive before that kept track of every little thing you drank. They kept track of everything so diligently there was no need at all for the armband.
Be forewarned that there are iguanas running around everywhere. DON'T sit under a palm tree or one may fall on you!!! Yes, I said fall on you!!! They make quite a thud when they land!!! I was shocked that none of the staff seemed to be concerned about the potential for someone to be injured. The rooms are also full of tiny little bugs crawling all over the counters. I hope none of them came home with me!!!
Getting around the resort could be challenging for some people with mobility issues. The walkways and sidewalks are uneven. There are also lots of steps.
Also be warned that beachfront does not mean oceanfront. One building is considered beachfront as you walk out onto the sand, but you are farther from the ocean. I would call it oceanview, not oceanfront. I was let down by the view we received. I expected much better.
View - OK, not the best. You can see their Buck Island. You can't see the sunset or sunrise.
Rooms - mattresses are comfy and seem new, furniture is fairly nice but needs leveled with the floor, linens are decent, overall spacious
Bathrooms - have a nice big vanity, but floor tiles need to be replaced, showers are small and have no shelves for toiletries, showerheads are old and small, water temp in shower is difficult to regulate
Sleep - Just forget about it!!! All the doors and windows have screens and louvers instead of glass. You hear ALL the noise from outside. I would also imagine those outside can hear what you are doing. You can't go to sleep early because you hear the LOUD band from the bar until 11 or 12. Then you have bugs and frogs hollaring until the early morning when it's the roosters turn to take over. The hotel is also right beside a busy road so you hear the traffic whizzing by, including many garbage and delivery trucks. Then they clean the beach with a sand machine starting at 6:30 AM. Turning on the A/C doesn't help the problem as it is very noisy.
Tour desk - Lady is about snooty. She wants to tell you what days to do things, not let you decide for yourself. If you want more info about something she will place a call and let you talk to them instead of finding out herself. She's not the least bit interested in helping you find out about anthing that isn't on her list. They do NOT rent cars at the hotel, make your own arrangements before you arrive!! You can book the excursions they offer on your own for a lot less money. Included turtle sail and sunset sail with all-inclusive was OK, not great. Crew was very nice. Refreshments on cruises were very minimal.
Beach - is small, but adequate, water is clear and usually calm. You will definetly need water shoes. There are a lot of rocks and seaweed.
Pool - is small, no hot tub - never did find out what the pool hours are, I'm assuming they didn't want people swimming at night as the pool in right in front of the restaurant
Activities - far end of property has a tennis court, basketball court, sand volleyball, and bean bag games. There are also plenty of watersports. Dive shop is on-site and has daily excursions. Scuba lessons are also offered in the pool.
TV- they're old-style, but that's OK - problem is there are very few channels and the worst part is that they're all fuzzy
Food - OK, nothing spectacular. Breakfast is choice of buffet or a la carte. All is good, but limited selection, gets repetative if you are staying longer than a week. Lunch selections are a little limited. Many foods are a little bit spicy. We didn't care for the island style rice served with most of the dinner plates. Black beans were good. Loved the plantains. Some of the meats weren't done enough to suit me, but all were tender and had a good flavor. Crab legs were the worst I've ever had. They were soft and impossible to crack. It was VERY difficult to get the meat out. I've never seen anything like it. Iced tea was horrible!!!!!!!!!! Make your own in the room. Thankfully we were all-inclusive as soft drinks cost $2 and were so small it would take 3 servings to equal a can.
Wait staff- service varied, you never knew what you were going to get. Iggies servers were much better than at the Lobster Grill. At the Lobster Grill you may wait awhile for a table, or to get a drink. The servers tended to be VERY forgetful about drinks. Once you ordered food it was quick to arrive, it just took a long time to get ordered. One night we had a reservation, but still had to wait 1 hour to get a table. People who arrived after us were seated before us. We almost left.
Iggies- made the place. The bartenders were great!!!!! Super nice and friendly and very attentive. You never had to wait for a fresh drink. There was a great atmosphere at Iggies. It felt like it could be your favorite local bar. Everyone was friendly and enjoying themselves. All the entertainment was good. A different band every night, so you didn't get bored. I loved the decor at both restaurants. They reminded me of Hawaii.
Carnival night - Buffet was delicious and had lots of selection. Music was good, but a bit loud. Show was a little disappointing. 3/4 of show was audience participation. Only 1 mocko jumbie and he spent 1/2 hour taking pictures with people instead of waiting until after the show. Performer, from Antigua, was OK. However, we saw a similar show a few years ago in Antigua that was much better. All in all, I was glad that we were all-inclusive, because if we would have had to pay extra for the show I would have been disappointed. They need to be better organized. They didn't inform the guests about the event at all. Several people showed up to eat at Iggies and were unaware that it was carnival night, and all they were serving was the buffet. It also didn't do us much good to get there early to get a good table when a lot of rude people went and stood in front of everyone once the show started. Staff should have made them move!!
Maids - start promptly at 9:30 and make a lot of noise. They usually return in the afternoon to see if you need anything. If you want any privacy you better hang out the Do Not Disturb sign and bolt the door. They are VERY pushy and just yell and walk right in. They don't hesitate even for a second or wait even if you yell back. One day they yelled and came right in even though our sign was out!!! I have never experienced such pushy maids!!!!
Excursions -
St. Thomas- has a few nice areas, but overall, not my kind of place. Coral World has some nice exhibits, but is small, will only take 2-3 hours to see. Downtown is VERY crowded. Most stores and Blackbeard's Castle do not open unless there is more than one cruise ship in port. Call ahead. Fort Christian is closed for renovations.
Driving - Roads are pretty bad, very winding, with many blind crests at the top of hills. Driving can be a bit confusing on the left, and the local drivers are very aggressive. It can also be difficult to find parking. All that said, we still preferred the freedom of having our own car.
St. John - VERY NICE!!! I highly recommend renting a car on this island. We had no problems taking the car ferry from St. Thomas. Island is easy to navigate. St. John is mostly N.P. and is very pristine, natural, and uncrowded. Much more to our liking. There are several interesting sugar plantation and mill ruins to explore and trails to hike. Beaches are beautiful. Roundtrip ferry is cheaper than one-way. Each ferry runs on an hourly schedule making it easy to return when you want to. Weekend tickets are $10 less than weekdays.
B.V.I. - day trip was wonderful, highly recommended. Was a beautiful ride around the different islands with stops on several to see points of interest.
Overall, the resort is only average. Worst part is probably trying to get good, quiet sleep. If you don't have high expectations it will suit you. If you want fancy, posh surroundings don't stay here. There aren't a lot of hotel choices on the island. It's probably a good choice for families and those on a budget. We stopped at Sapphire Beach and found the view and beach spectacular. It is far from the noisy road and has security guards. They also had a nice pool and large balconies. Plus they have a marina and car rental on-site, but no restaurant or bar. So Bolongo Bay is probably the best bet if you want a place that has everything on-site.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (202)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Cunupia, Trinidad
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

I stayed at Bolongo Bay Resort with my family for one night as we missed our ferry to Tortola. The staff at reception helped us with our bags as we had been doing some shopping and my wife and I were given a complimentary rum punch on check in which was delicious and set the tone for a great evening.
The room was quaint but very comfortable and very clean. The room was equipped with a fridge, microwave and a sink with dishwashing liquid etc which was a great help to us with storing the baby’s food and cleaning his bottles.
We went to Iggies for dinner and the food was delicious, the beer was cold and beach from setting was beautiful with an amazing sunset. The live Bananas Foster French Toast and it was excellent. The butter rum sauce was amazing.
The stand out feature at the resort was the staff. They were polite and very helpful. We were having trouble with our phones roaming and we needed to contact family at home to tell them we were spending the night. After being unable to get the room phone to connect, the gentleman at the reception desk offered to let us use his personal cell phone to make our calls. Eventually we got the calls placed from the room, but he called the room back to extend the offer of his phone if we needed it at anytime. This gesture was greatly appreciated.
All in all it is an amazing resort, set on a beautiful beach, the food is great and the room is very comfortable. It is a family owned resort and honestly the staff makes you feel like family. Will be back to Bolongo Bay, this time we will plan our stay ahead of time.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palatine, Illinois, United States
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

I just got back from Bolongo Bay and will be going back again and again - much like all the nice people we met there and told us they have been coming back for years! First I'll sum up why Bolongo Bay is a great place to go, and then I'll provide more details.

The difference between Bolongo Bay and the other (more corporate hotels) is:

Bolongo Bay:
Steps to the Beach (other hotels are on hills so have to walk all the way down to beach)
Non-crowded beach (other hotels have much larger capacity, hence more people)
Only holds 170 rooms (I think) so you are always tended to and can always relax in total peace
I believe the only place in St. Thomas that has outdoor entertainment every night of the week
Rooms are not made of marble and glass (like the more corporate "Marriott's") but they are big, clean and beds are very comfortable. (Who needs marble and glass when you spend 90% of your time outside of the room anyway?)
Friendly staff that I have NEVER found anywhere else I've been in the world
Everything you need during the day is within walking distance (on grounds) - restaurant on both sides of beach, water sports hut, little store, front desk, business center, etc. all within steps


So, here's what you get to expect while vacationing at Bolongo Bay: Amazing welcome (welcome sign with your personal names listed, champagne (if you have special event or if you are a returning guest - sometimes even a bottle of rum), Incredibly nice staff that remember your name every time they see you and say hello (even the landscapers say hello by name). A wonderful and clean beach that is never crowded! Free (non-motor) water sports - snorkel, body board, sailing, paddle boats, etc. Clean rooms with fridge and large balcony, all rooms are steps from beach, swim up bar, fine dining restaurant, casual outdoor restaurant, outdoor entertainment every night, all inclusive option if desired, kid friendly, volleyball tournaments, tennis courts, hammocks, friendly iguanas walking along the beach and in pool. You are far enough away from downtown and away from cruise ship crowds but still only an $8 cab ride into town.

If you truly want a VERY relaxing vacation without the hustle and bustle of crowds and noise with the attention to detail and warm hearted people....THEN GO TO BOLONGO BAY! You won't regret it! I promise!!

Room Tip: select room 169 if you want second floor and want to stare at the beach!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greenville, NC
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

First impressions are important and this is the weakest part of the Bolongo Bay Resort. Fortunately, they make up for it in other areas, but the lobby area and the rooms (which is the first thing we saw) are not impressive AT ALL. The staff and overall attitude of the resort are great, really, but the hotel is in dire need of a renovation. I know it's quaint and all that, but it really should be worked on. My 20 year old and I took a mom/daughter trip during her college break and couldn't get our preferred hotel on St. Thomas, so we booked Bolongo. She loved it, mainly due to the beach amenities and the beach staff, who were extremely nice and helpful with getting her involved with some new water sports. The beach is nice; we sunned, snorkeled with a sea turtle, kayaked, sailboarded, paddle boarded, and drank tropical drinks. Obviously, we packed it in! The restaurant is nice and convenient and reasonable and Iggys is a short walk down the beach for a great bar and casual food. One night they showed a movie on the beach at Iggy's (next door) while we ate. Overall, I'd say, if the room is not key in making your trip enjoyable and you go out more than you stay in, enjoy the Bolongo Bay Resort for what it is; not the Marriott.

Room Tip: We think the 2nd floor is the nicest view, and we stayed near the pool and it was fine. If you stay...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Butler PA
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

This is not some white washed sanitized smug resort.
Every person there cares that you enjoy your experience. Snorkeling or Hobie Cat lesson no problem just ask the great guys at the beach hut. They also recommended a better snorkel
for my wife which we bought at the on site dive shop.
We arrived on March2 over 2 hours before check in not only was our room ready but they gave us a complimentary bottle of champagne..our 32nd anniversary:) We had room 114 for the week
(waves hi to Jeff). I met some tremendous people there and could never mention them all by name even though certainly remembered ours all the time. The people at the Lobster Grill will also remember if you have a favorite table. Our preference was the 2nd floor two person directly over the pool. My favorite breakfast was the new englander. Favorite dinner the delmonico:)
Portions were huge we had trouble eating it all and my wife never did. Never had one bad meal
or one bad experience. The drinks are just what we wanted strong and never ending. The all inclusive beachfront is the way to go. That gentle lapping sound of the ocean just makes you sleep very deeply. I had read tons of reviews about bugs here is my take on it....its the tropics!
Fire Ants= Nope never saw one just a few sugar ants don't take food to your room was our rule.
Mosquitos= only a few after it rained.
NoSeeUms=we avoided being outside an hour after sunrise and an hour after sunset. I am very allergic to all bites and welt easily but had no issues.
Iggies is the very best beach bar we saw we just preferred Lobster Grille.
The turtles were often just a few feet off the beach take your water proof camera!!
Heavenly days cruises turtles and sunset were just great. Tip for the sunset cruise sit in the back
on the way back you'll have the sunset views :)
Summary the Duomeg family and crew actually care about you and your enjoying your stay I can not wait to go back next time I just won't get sunburned on the 2nd day. Every person there was just amazing..oohhh and if you see Joseph the woodcarver onsite tell him hi and buy something like we did he does amazing work.

Room Tip: Beachfront rooms 113-117 are the best. We are early to bed types and Iggies can be loud depending on...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

If you ever wondered what heaven feels like, stay at Bolongo Bay... It is as close as it could be..You will get the 5 star treatment in so many ways..They are small out of the way resort in a peaceful cove..With outstanding service and atmosphere..Thier staff will answer any questions you may have ,and are always friendly and making your stay feel like home..I was amazed how comfortable i felt there.I would like to thank the entire staff for making it feel like home..i really did not want to leave..Will I be back ...YES !!!...I met some awesome people and made some life long friends..What more could a person ask for..They offer such a wide range of activeies, like sorkling and suba ,non powered fun of all types..and trips like the sunset cruise and swim with the turtles..and lets not forget,diving trips or jet sking..and as the sun sets the entertainment just gets started at Iggys..they have live entertainment every night,your sure to have fun there.why even the locals come to Iggy's to play and eat..Now thats saying something...I had a awesome time at Bolongo and would never stay anywhere else..there no place like home...Next time I hope to meet the owner and thank them for having such a grest resort...If you cant have fun here you wont have fun anywhere...By the end of my stay I wished I worked for Bolongo Bay..It was the best vaction i have had.....

Room Tip: "Higher floors have less A/C unit noise"
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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Wilmington, Delaware, United States
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

We stayed at Bolongo Bay, and we had an amazing time.
The food was top notch the people who worked there really loved their jobs. Ms V is a real sweetheart and Cornelius was a hoot opening up coconuts for us to drink the coconut water he's very entertaining. Speaking of entertainment they will keep you entertained every night of the week at Iggie's Bar and Grill. The last band we saw was a little bland for our liking but over all the place blew us away.
Our room was 45 steps from the water and the snorkeling was great at the resort the bartenders were very nice and they make some great drinks.
Heaeanly Days was a fun Catamaran and the deck hands Kyle and Lindsley were alot of fun
I can definitly tell you that we'll be back along with all the other people on the trip we met were all be backs as well.

Do yourself a favor and forget the rest of the resorts you were possibly looking at and just book the best one out there which was Belongo Bay and see for yourself like we did.

Room Tip: get a ocean front room your so close to the ocean well worth the money also if you can hold out till...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bolongo Bay Beach Resort

Address: 7150 Bolongo, 00802, St. Thomas
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. Thomas > South Coast
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in South Coast
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Bolongo Bay Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 95
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Bolongo Bay Beach Hotel South Coast
Hotel Bolongo Bay Beach
Bolongo Bay St Thomas
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

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